Meet Our Nurses

Peggy Lutes RN, CH

Peggy has been working with birthing moms and dads for over 30 years. She received her RN from Bryn Mawr Hospital and worked there as a labor, delivery and postpartum nurse. Her love of teaching was obvious even then, when she developed classes in Baby Care and Breastfeeding for the couples at the hospital. She was trained by Childbirth Education Association and is certified as a Childbirth Education Specialist. She moved to New Jersey, worked at Garden State Hospital in their labor and delivery unit and worked at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in their Antenatal Testing Center. She assisted with the set up and was Head Nurse of the Antenatal testing unit at West Jersey Health System in Vorhees, NJ. Peggy moved with her family 20 years ago to Delaware and worked at St Francis Hospital in their labor and delivery. She came to the Birth Center 13 years ago as part of St Francis and loved it. It really is a wonderful place for families to have a special birth experience. Her first grandchild Adeline was born at the Birth Center in 2006.

Peggy is a Consulting Hypnotist, a Certified Hypnobirthing Educator, Certified HypnoFertility Therapist and founder of Gentle Healing Hypnosis.

Peggy says, “After attending the first birth at the Birth Center I really felt that I went full circle in my career and was thrilled to be back where birth is still considered a miracle of life.”

Megan Jones BSN, RN

Megan Jones BSN, RN; Nurse Manager of our Birth Facility. Megan Received her Nursing Degree from The University of Delaware Nursing Class of ’07.  She started her nursing career with Christiana Hospital in their Shock Trauma ICU for 6 years before changing her career path to Women’s Health. 

In 2013, Megan took a position with Union Hospital in their Labor and Delivery Unit before beginning her new endeavor with us at The Birth Center in 2016. 

Megan and her husband Michael have 4 children; Charlotte, Georgia, Felicity, and Elliot. She and her family live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and enjoy hiking, kayaking, and homesteading on their small farm.   

Allison LaRusso RN

Allison has spent the last decade of her career working in critical care, ER and pediatrics. She has had two of her children here and has loved every part of her birth center experience! The staff here is so inspiring and she feels honored that she gets to work with the wonderful individuals that helped her through her motherhood journey. She feels very grateful to be able to now provide that support and empowerment to other women. 

Allison is the mother of three wonderful humans – Ace, Vivian and Fiona. She is thrilled to be sharing her life with her wonderful husband Nick. In her spare time she loves to cook, run, read, go to the beach and cuddle with her dogs.  

Darci O’Donnell BSN, RN

Darci has always been passionate about birth and women’s wellness even from a young age. When pregnant with her first child, 14 years ago, she found The Birth Center and fell in love with the atmosphere. All three of her children were born in the yellow room, in what she describes as “the most empowering and uplifting experiences of my life.”

Darci has worked as a doula with Birth In Full Bloom helping women fulfill their birth goals. During that time she realized this was the field she wanted to work in once graduating from nursing school. For the last 8 years, Darci has worked at AI DuPont Children’s hospital, first as an aide, and then as a nurse on a med/surg unit. She plans on continuing her education to become a Nurse Midwife.

“I am very excited to be a part of the Birth Center team. Many of these women have been in my life since my first pregnancy. It truly is a family, here and this has been a goal of mine for a long time!”

Charlotte Kelly, BSN, RN, RPYT, CHBE

Charlotte received her BS in Nursing in 1988 from Seton Hall University. Her entire career has been devoted to Maternal Infant Health.  Over the years, she has worked in maternity, labor and delivery, pediatrics and as a nurse for the Nurse Family Partnership program in public health.  She is also a Certified Lactation Counselor. Her passion is in walking alongside mothers during this special time in their lives.  She loves to teach and help moms and families learn their own way and achieve their goals in becoming families.

In 2021, Charlotte became certified as a HypnoBirth instructor. She loved learning more about the body mind connection in class and now loves teaching it. This led her to deepen her yoga practice and knowledge and in January 2022 she began yoga teacher training under Lynn Slocomb at The Light Within Studio in West Grove, PA. She graduated after much work and study.  She then completed further  training to become certified as a prenatal yoga teacher!

Charlotte and her husband Kevin have seven children, ranging in age from 19-32.  She understands the importance of this time of pregnancy in a woman’s life.

Amber Shetzler RN

After graduated from Beebe School of Nursing in 2014, Amber began her nursing career at Nurses ‘N Kids, a pediatric daycare center for medically complex children who are unable to attend a regular daycare setting. Nurses ‘N Kids was her home away from home. Within four years after graduation, Amber grew from a staff nurse to a charge nurse. Amber also began working at Dover Behavioral Health on the adolescent unit for 2 years as a casual nurse, continuing her love for pediatrics. She has spent the last 6 + years as an ER/Trauma nurse and continues to work at Beebe Healthcare as a casual nurse.

“Nursing has been such a rewarding career where I have been able to encompass my love for pediatrics, critical thinking and the fast paced environment of ER nursing.”

When not working, Amber spends time with her wife Holly and 2 kiddos, Kylie and Bentley. She enjoys going on adventures especially to theme parks, the beach and the pool. When not out on an adventure Amber enjoys relaxing with her family at home.

Amber expressed how overwhelmed she is with the care and compassion The Birth Center provides. ” I look forward to providing exceptional and supportive care through labor, delivery, and postpartum.”

Erin Lelko BSN, RN

Erin spent most of her life surrounded by the medical field – it wasn’t until she headed to Africa on a medical mission trip that she quickly realized nursing was her passion. It was there she learned to care for the whole person (mind, body, spirit) and how to achieve the optimal well-being of a patient. She received her BSN through Neumann University, where her passion for women’s health and maternal medicine was cultivated through involvement in the Social Justice Committee. In 2017 she began her first job with Penn Medicine, Womens and Babies Hospital as a postpartum nurse. Only to confirm her passion for delivery, postpartum, and lactation care. In 2019 she joined Bayada Home Health Pediatrics to widen her view of community nursing. The bustle of the hospital left her longing to spend time with patients and to truly give them autonomy in the care of their families.

Erin loves spending quality time with her family. She and her husband lead international mission trips and serve in youth ministries. Her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, playing music, attending concerts.

The birth of a baby truly changes lives and Erin believes that no matter if it’s the first child or fifth, for a woman it’s another crucial new beginning! That is why she is truly excited to be welcomed onto The Birth Center team. A place where the whole person and family is not only cared for but helped and encouraged to be completely autonomous for the care of their body and child. 

Esther Cragg BSN, RN


Esther has been with The Birth Center since November 2022. Before coming to us she worked on the labor and delivery unit at Medstar Franklin Square in Rosedale, Maryland. She graduated with her RN from Cecil College in 2020 and continued school for her BSN, which she completed at Wilmington University in 2022. She is going to start midwife school at Frontier Nursing University in July 2023. Esther loves supporting and caring for laboring and postpartum women and is humbled and blessed by the opportunity to be present for such an important time in people’s lives.

Esther lives in Maryland with her husband, dog Jethro, and cat Jinora. Some of her hobbies include biking, camping, gardening, Taekwondo and traveling. She serves in her community by running a girl’s outdoor troop and volunteering at her local fire station as an EMT.

Shawna Brewer Ray BSN, RN

I graduated nursing school from Cecil College in 2019 and started my career working in a level 3 neonatal ICU at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. I then received my bachelor’s degree from Towson University in 2021. I have attended countless high-risk deliveries and spent the past year rotating to their labor and delivery unit to work as the delivery room assistant nurse. This experience has been invaluable, as I’ve been able to strengthen my assessment skills for both healthy and sick infants.

I have two children, Aubrey and Matthew. Aubrey is 3 and was born in a hospital setting. When I was pregnant with my son, I decided I wanted a different experience, and in October 2022, I gave birth to him at The Birth Center in the purple room. This experience was life-changing. The care that I received throughout pregnancy and postpartum was both comforting and refreshing. I feel honored to now be apart of such an amazing team.

I continue to work as a NICU nurse at GBMC as needed. Being a nurse in the maternal-child
world has been humbling, and my love for nursing lies in the ability to create meaningful
relationships with my patients and their families during some of the most vulnerable times of
their lives

Kennedy Smith BSN, RN

Meet Kennedy, a Delaware native whose journey into nursing began unexpectedly. At the age of 14, Kennedy delivered her sister’s baby in the car, on the way to Christiana Hospital! With the direction of a 911 operator on the phone, a beautiful baby girl entered the world, with Kennedy as her unexpected nurse.

The experience was transformative for Kennedy. Witnessing the miracle of birth firsthand ignited a passion within her— a calling to help others in their most vulnerable moments. After years of rigorous study, Kennedy earned her nursing degree at The University of Delaware. While at UD, Kennedy had the honor to have a clinical rotation at The Birth Center. Before coming to us, she worked at a hospital as a float pool nurse in New Hampshire. Kennedy is excited to now be a part of The Birth Center team as staff!